September is both National Suicide Prevention and National Recovery Month. This program spotlight features KYC programs that work closely with both of these important topics.
Kenneth Young Center has provided intensive SASS (Screening Assessment and Support Services)/MCR (Mobile Crisis Response) services for more than 30 years. Operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week throughout the year across 224 square miles in seven suburban townships, this team works first-hand in preventing suicide, self-harm, and harm to others among people who are in psychiatric crisis.
Preventing Harm and Promoting Recovery
When a person is in crisis and is in imminent risk of harming themselves or others, our SASS/MCR therapists are quickly called to help protect that person. Our therapists respond immediately to the person in crisis, meeting them wherever they are in the community. “Often times, we are the client and family’s first point of contact in the world of mental health treatment,” explains Rebecca Horwitz, LCSW, MCR/SASS Supervisor. “Many of those we work with have been unable to access this type of care before, thus resulting in a psychiatric crisis.”
Our therapists rapidly intervene in a crisis situation and keep the person safe. They perform an initial assessment to determine immediate steps to decrease the risk of harm. For some individuals in a severe state of crisis, this may mean recommending hospitalization. Others may be best cared-for outside of a hospital setting. In every case, our SASS/ MCR therapists recommend a personalized plan of action to best care for the person as they recover from the acute crisis.
Just as important as their work to mitigate the potential for harm in the moment that a person is experiencing extreme distress, SASS/MCR therapists connect the individual with wraparound services that will support their long-term recovery. “We strive to ensure a compassionate and empathic approach that encourages our clients to continue engaging in these often lifesaving services,” shares Rebecca, “so that they can experience the quality of life that every individual deserves.”
In addition to providing therapeutic services directly, the SASS/MCR therapist will often connect the individual with an outpatient therapist to continue addressing any emotional or behavioral concerns. They may also recommend activities that build positive coping skills, connect the individual with additional supportive services, or introduce them to community resources that promote wellness. Through these follow-up steps, they help prevent future crises.
Proudly Serving Our Communities
In 2019, KYC added three new Townships to our service area, making us one of the largest providers of this program in the state of Illinois. We now provide SASS/MCR services in Maine, Elk Grove, Schaumburg, Hanover, Wheeling, Palatine, and Barrington Townships.
Between July of 2019 and May of 2020, 2,507 individuals were served through these programs, ranging in age as young as three years old through adulthood. Although this is difficult work, it is much needed in our communities. Rebecca shares that “as a team, we pride ourselves on our ability to provide these critical services for those most underserved in our community.”
If you feel that someone may be at risk of harming themselves or others or are in a mental health crisis, please get help immediately. Resources that you can call include:
- The CARES line (800) 345‑9049. This is a mental health crisis line for people at risk of harming themselves or others in the state of Illinois.
- The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1 – 800-273-TALK(8255). The Lifeline provides 24-hour free and confidential support.
If you are seeking more information about the services that KYC provides and you are not at risk of harming yourself or someone else, please call 847−524−8800.
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